London Grads Now - UAL Chelsea

Promising Young Talent: Highlights from London Grads Now. 21

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What to expect from this year's MA graduates

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Want to see what the future of art looks like? Well, you’re in luck. The next generation of artists are currently on show at the Saatchi Gallery, where London Grads Now. 21 is currently showing a range of artwork from over 200 MA graduates.

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Promising Young Talent: Highlights from London Grads Now. 21

London’s graduate-led showcase of talent is back for its second edition this year, with work from over 200 MA graduates taking centre stage in the infamous Saatchi Gallery. The show, which was initially conceived in response to the unprecedented cancellation of degree shows in the UK capital throughout 2020, presents a look into the work of the next generation of global artists.

Seven of London’s leading art schools are represented across nine galleries, including Goldsmiths University, UAL: Camberwell College of Arts, UAL: Chelsea College of Arts, UAL: Central Saint Martins, UCL: Slade School of Art, Royal College of Art and the newly added Kingston School of Art.

Leading visitors on a one-way journey through the seven schools on display, the gallery presents a colourful array of work ranging from video and sculpture to painting, print and collage.

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ROSALIE WAMMES 'There will be Time'

UAL Chelsea

Visitors are first greeted by UAL Chelsea, and are struck by the colourful from rags to bitches to riches by Nisa Khan, Rosalie Wammes‘ terracotta sculptures and the large-scale Female champion by Lanhe Sun. Female voices and feminist perspectives hold a strong hold on many of the works, as well as an emphasis of materials and texture, making for a visual feast for the eyes. UAL Chelsea opened the exhibition on a strong note, keeping excitement levels high.

Image: ROSALIE WAMMES ‘There will be Time’. Terracotta, steel, sound, 170 x 90 x 65 cm, 150 x 85 x 65 cm, 30 x 85 x 20 cm. rosaliewammes.com / @rosalie_wammes. Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery, London

FLORA BRADWELL 'Greedy Mouth'

UCL: Slade School of Art

Colour took centre-stage in Slade’s presentation this year, with many artists going down the route of bold expressions, large-scale sculpture and geometric patterns. An artwork that stole attention was Flora Bradwell‘s Greedy Mouth (pictured). A neon soft sculpture depicting a mouth spewing human body parts onto the warped fork beneath it, Greedy Mouth is as inviting as it is grotesque. Other stand-outs include Khushna Sulaman-Butt‘s Yang, a two metre portrait of a drag queen, and Maria Camila Cepeda Gnecco‘s huge ceramic insect.

Image: Installation View. Goldsmiths University (Gallery 3), London Grads Now (4 November 2021 – 16 January 2022). FLORA BRADWELL ‘Greedy Mouth’. Acrylic on soft sculpture, cardboard with dummies, approx. 200 x 100 x 70 cm. florabradwell.com @florabradwellart. Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery, London

Installation View - London Grads Now. 21

Goldsmiths

Goldsmiths continued the fun in the next gallery, where visitors were greeted by LOFTOMATTIC‘s extending ladder, Demo (This is not an artwork), and Maddy Plimmer‘s sky-high heels, No Romance on the Pedestal (pictured). Plimmer’s artwork in particular proved popular for its humorous exaggeration of a well-recognised symbol of female beauty standards, with many flocking to the sculpture for a quick photograph.

Image: Installation View. Goldsmiths University (Gallery 3), London Grads Now (4 November 2021 – 16 January 2022). Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery, London

TOM WHITE 'Lucky Red'

UAL: Camberwell College of Arts

Sculpture took pride of place in Camberwell College of Art’s presentation, with Afrah Omar Babkair‘s Aljawd Min Almawjud (‘The Generosity From Existing’), Victoria Rotaru‘s Perpetual Decomposer, John Sachpazis(Un)Becoming Monster(s) #2 and Long Yuan‘s Pavilion taking up much of the floor space. But that didn’t stop the likes of Tom White‘s Lucky Red portrait (pictured) from garnering some well-deserved attention, with its attention to detail and the subtlety of light and shadow showcasing White’s dexterity when it comes to depicting human subjects.

Image: TOM WHITE ‘Lucky Red’. Oil on canvas, 170 x 110 cm. white-paint.com / @tombowhite. Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery, London

GRAHAM MARTIN 'A Portal'

Royal College of Art

Spanning two rooms, the Royal College of Art had the largest presentation out of the seven schools taking part in the exhibition – creating a huge variety when it came to the art on show. From Polam Chan‘s curtain of ceramic tiles and ink messages (titled I’m Just Not There) and the hanging mass of red brooms that form Hoa Dung Clerget‘s Broom Lady to Kirsty Sim‘s bright purple experimental c-type print Digital Chemistry #9 and Emil Lombardo‘s photographic portrait Luca – they/he/she, there was more than enough art to keep visitors busy.

Image: GRAHAM MARTIN ‘A Portal’. Painting, 23 x 30 x 18 cm. Image transfer on found sink fragment. Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery, London

Installation View - London Grads Now. 21

UAL: Central Saint Martins

One of the more ‘out there’ presentations came from Central Saint Martins, who showed anything from vibrating sponge sculptures (The Cake by Feng Feng) to video installations about teeth (Niko Pazzaglia‘s Smile Bridle). Visitors also had the opportunity to step into Holly Hewitt‘s Breathscape, a video installation housed in a small hut-like structure. Bringing to fruition Hewitt’s research from her Art and Science MA, the videos take viewers on a roaming exploration of natural landscapes.

Image: Installation View. UAL: Central Saint Martins (Gallery 7), London Grads Now (4 November 2021 – 16 January 2022). Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery, London

PAULA WILKINS 'Untitled (Fixation II)'

Kingston School of Art

The newest addition to the annual show, Kingston School of Art, was aptly left to the end of the exhibition – ending the show on a high note that left many wanting more. Highlights included Little Red’s Ceramics in 100-day performance, a clash of vibrantly painted and bare ceramics strewn across the floor, and Lyndsay Russell’s Aqua Nebula 1, a fluttering blue silk banner kept in constant movement by an accompanying fan.

Image: PAULA WILKINS ‘Untitled (Fixation II)’. Digital Print on Lycra, Steel Tube, 50 x 5 x 35 cm. @paulawilkinsart. Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery, London

The Final Word

A window into a not-so-distant future, London Grads Now. 21 showcases the pushing of creative boundaries by the UK capital’s young artists in all its vibrant, chaotic glory. Seeking artistic inspiration? This is the place to be.

BOOK

London Grads Now. 21 runs until 16 January 2022. All proceeds from the sale of artworks going to the artists who created them. Standard tickets from £5, concessions from £3 and free for members. You can book your tickets here. For the full list of participating artists, please visit saatchigallery.com

Featured image: Installation View. UAL: Chelsea College of Arts (Gallery 1). Female champion by Lanhe Sun. Digital print on fabric, 300 x 600 cm, sunlanhe.com / @lanhesun (Image courtesy of Saatchi Gallery, London)

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